Gilda’s Club Hosts Lymphoma Q & A Session for April

WPCNR Health Herald, Filed 3/12/02: Dr. Morton Coleman will be leading an Ask the Doctor about Lymphoma program at the Gilda’s Club Westchester presented by the Lymphoma Research Foundation, April 16, from 6 PM to 8 PM.
The Gilda’s Club is located at 80 Maple Avenue in White Plains. There is no fee to participate but we ask that attendees RSVP by April 2nd to Jami Hansel at 914-644-8844.

Morton Coleman, M.D. serves as the Co-Director of the Center for Lymphoma and Myeloma at the New York Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell Campus.

This program is designed to provide patients with important information about radioimmunotherapy treatments that have recently received Food and Drug Administration approval for lymphoma or are currently under late-stage FDA review.

Dr. Coleman will discuss what radiolabeled antibodies are and how they are administered, radiation safety issues, the common side effects associated with antibody treatment and information about ongoing research in radioimmunotherapy.

For additional information about the Ask the Doctor about Lymphoma program or the Lymphoma Research Foundation’s other educational programs and patient services please call 800-500-9976 or visit www.lymphoma.org.

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Child Care Subsidy Process Difficult for White Plains Daycare Moms

CitzeNetReporter Sunday Morning News & Comment By Teresa Kramarz, Filed 3/10/02:Sandra Young was 19 when she had her daughter, now 2 years old. She earned $1,000 a month working as a receptionist at St. Agnes Children’s Rehabilitation Center in White Plains, but after paying for childcare she had $350 left to live.
The County of Westchester is one of a few in the State of New York that offer childcare subsides to low-income parents like Young. But getting the government’s help is no easy task.

It’s hard to get.

Parents and childcare providers described the process of qualifying and applying to the subsidies as being long and complicated, and many complained that the Department of Social Services, which administers the program, offers little help to get through it.

Income Qualifier: One Level Fits All Areas?!?!

To qualify for a subsidy, a parent’s income must fall within a certain range of the federal poverty level. For example, following the New York State Eligibility Chart, a family of four earning up to $39,700 a year may be eligible to receive funds under a program called Title XX.

But a federal guideline does not differentiate between varying costs of living across the country.

“It does not make any sense. It’s not the same living in Idaho as outside Manhattan, or in Manhattan for that matter,” said Marcia Corning-Landsman, executive director of the White Plains Daycare Association, a non-profit organization that operates seven local daycare centers serving 400 children.

A vicious cycle?

Many parents also get caught in a vicious cycle. To qualify for a subsidy the parents must be employed, but they cannot secure employment if they do not have someone to care for their children. Meanwhile, childcare centers are not supposed to accept a child until the parents’ subsidy application is approved, said Corning-Landsman.

The application process can be very tough for the parents, and so is getting answers from social services, said Corning-Landsman.

“We have a couple of our staff that, in addition to their regular responsibilities, dedicate much of their time to help parents get through the application,” she added.

Paperwork and more paperwork.

Zotica Medina-Weiner, director of the Early Head Start Program, is one of those staff members. She calculated that she spends 60 percent of her time helping parents with their applications and following up with caseworkers at the Department of Social Services. She has even made her own forms, explaining how to complete the application.

She said parents have often come to her in tears because they were poorly treated and could not get anyone in social services to explain to them what they needed to do.

The Paper Chase.

The applicant must collect documents from different sources including verification of income from their employer, a statement from their landlord, a form from their child’s daycare and, in the case of a single parent, a notarized letter showing the absentee’s parent contribution, said Medina-Weiner.

But because many documents are time sensitive, a delay in securing one can cause others to expire, said Mary Ann Tedesco, executive director of the YMCA childcare program. It is also difficult for parents because many work off the books and cannot get a letter from their employers verifying their employment and income level, she added.

Social Services Sluggish.

Although “social services says it is supposed to take 30 days to process an application, it usually takes anywhere from 30 to 90 days. It typically takes 45 days for parents to hear on the status of their application,” said Medina-Weiner.

Sandra Young waited three months to receive approval. She was lucky, however, because in the meantime she was able to borrow money to cover her childcare costs and go to work.

Others simply lose their jobs because they cannot pay their childcare providers while they wait for a subsidy approval, said Medina-Weiner.

Demand for Child Care Up.

Demand for childcare subsidies has increased dramatically since they were first offered in 1994. Leslie Perdy, of the Childcare Council of Westchester, remembers when they started managing the program in 1994 with a caseload of 400 children per month.

The Department of Social Services, which administers the program now, reported that in 2001 an average of 5,500 children per month received subsidies, said Deputy Commissioner Dennis Packard.

Packard said the application is fairly straightforward and they provide documentation to explain how to fill it. He said they take 30 days to process it, but incomplete documentation from the parent causes delays.

The child can attend daycare once the application is approved. The law specifies “you are eligible for daycare from the day we make an eligibility determination,” said Packard. If parents take their child to daycare before then, they do it as a “business risk.”

Tapping unlicensed providers.

Corning-Landsman said that many families find the process too difficult and simply give up trying to get government assistance. They end up choosing a type of daycare they can afford, which means an unlicensed provider that works in potentially unsafe or unsanitary conditions, she said.

But in Sandra Young’s experience, a State licensed provider was no guarantee of adequate childcare. Many times she found her sitter napping and her baby playing alone on the floor. The carpets were dirty and smelled, and the sitter, who did not own a highchair, fed the baby in a car seat on the floor, she said.

“Quality childcare programs are vital to our economy and to the development of children. We know every dollar spent in early childcare saves $5 to $7 in later remediation,” said Corning-Landsman citing a study from the Children’s Defense Fund. “The children are the ones that really lose out.”

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King Komments:Councilman Patrols Battle Hill. Observes. Suggests B&Bs

King Komments, by White Plains Councilman William King, Filed 3/8/02: The peripatetic Councilman walked the streets of the Battle Hill neighborhood this week, and noted these conditions.
I walked along Tarrytown Road to City Limits for breakfast and then back the length of Robertson Ave. in Battle Hill. Could I point out a couple of things?

1. Need a trash receptacle or two along Tarrytown Road – there’s one in the parking lot across from City Limits but what about at Chatterton Ave., another at School Street – wouldn’t hurt.

2. There’s what looks to be an old fire alarm box pole or something with a wire hanging out near the intersection of Battle Ave. and Tarrytown Rd. that has been there forever. It’s in the greenspace between the street and the sidewalk. Can we get that out of there? It’s really unsightly.

3. Can a city cleanup crew go into the forested areas near the houses that border the greenspaces along Tarrytown Rd. and pick up all the trash that’s there? This is a major city gateway and should be pristine. Volunteers can help at different times but it would be a big boost if city employees could spend some time on these things so we are not totally dependent on volunteers.

4. I noticed some leftover pavement in the greenspace near the sidewalk along Tarrytown near Robertson. It would be nice if this was ripped up and replanted with grass. Maybe then neighborhood kids could play some informal games of baseball and soccer in this area. I know there has been talk over the years over having some of this space for a veteran memorialization area.

5. There is a lot of litter along people’s fences and walls, etc. along the sidewalks of Harding Ave. Again, can a city crew go off-street a little to pick stuff up? Maybe ask the neighbors in a letter to help volunteer? Ask the neighbors to show up for a cleanup day and see if anyone shows up? They might appreciate the attention.

6. Something could be done with the Harding & Robertson firehouse on the outside – how about coming up with some plantings – could be done at the same time as the ‘neighborhood cleanup day.’

7. There’s an old, white, rusty, ‘bad looking’ guardrail along property on the east side of Harding just north of the intersection of Battle Ave. Can this guardrail, which has served its time, be replaced with a more attractive, residential style wood guardrail? I think wood guardrails should replace the metal ones in residential neighborhoods – a much better look.

8. Ultimately, I think it would be great if the streetlights along Harding and elsewhere on this side of Battle Hill were replaced with a more historic ‘gaslamp’ style of light that would highlight the turn-of-the-century (and earlier) appeal of this neighborhood.

As Tom Roach has imaginatively suggested, this would be a great area for a bed & breakfast or two, close to the train station, if it was rezoned to allow.

(Editor’s Note: There already is an operating Bed & Breakfast in White Plains, Soundview Manor. It advertises on the internet at www.soundviewmanor.com, and is mentioned and pictured in the Westchester County “Westchester Way” lodgings brochure.)

9. The bench on Battle Ave. between Harding and Tarrytown needs to be replaced with one of those new black steel benches like in the Downtown that you have on order.

These are all low-cost items that would together make a difference.

Councilman William King

“King Komments” is William King’s weekly commentary he circulates to city officials and to WPCNR with his observations on neighborhood and city issues.

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Youth Bureau Sponsors Free Computer Camp on Spring Vacation

WPCNR NewsReel, Reported By City Hall News Bureau, 3/7/02: The City of White Plains Youth Bureau is very excited to be sponsoring a free mini vacation computer camp at their new technology center located at 11 Amherst Place in White Plains for middle school students.
This computer camp will run from March 25, 2002 through March 28, 2002 from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. These 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students will learn how to do a Power Point presentation, surf the Internet and how to do research on the computer. Limited space is available. To register, please contact Raymond Tribble at the City of White Plains Youth Bureau at 422-1378.


FRANK WILLIAMS SHOWING OFF THE YOUTH BUREAU NEW TECHNOLOGY CENTER, where the Vacation Computer Camp will be held. The facility has 12 new computers, and 3 new printers, purchased by the city through community development funds, as part of Mayor Joseph Delfino’s Digital Divide initiative.
Photo by WPCNR

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Drought Drains. Spano Taps White Plains Louise Doyle H2O Chief. County Prepares.

WPCNR NewsReel, from Westchester County Department of Communications Reports, Filed 3/8/02:County Executive Andy Spano appointed White Plains resident Louise Doyle to head the County’s new Water Agency in response to the County’s continuing drought. County water reservoir waterlevels are filled to half of their capacity as of this week. In an average year they are filled to 86%.
Ms. Doyle’s appointment was one of several steps the county government is taking to prepare for a potential drought Ms. Doyle will coordinate the county’s drought effort.

Doyle, a professional engineer, has worked for the county’s Department of Health since 1988, first as a senior engineer and since 1994 as an associate engineer. She has provided engineering supervision of the Land Development Program, particularly as it relates to the implementation of the New York City Watershed Rules and Regulations. She has been a member of the Westchester Water Works Conference since 1983 and has extensive knowledge of Westchester’s water suppliers.

County Executive Readies

Saying he would not wait to act for an “official announcement of a drought emergency” — one that comes from New York City — Spano said the county is gearing up on many fronts on the assumption that mandatory conservation measures are inevitable.

County water reservoir waterlevels are filled to half of their capacity as of this week. In an average year they are filled to 86%.

In the meantime, he reiterated his request that residents and businesses voluntarily conserve water.

“All expectations are that there will not be enough rain over the next few months to fill our reservoirs,” Spano said. “While the official declaration of an ‘emergency’ may not come for 4-10 weeks, we will not wait until then to act. We want to be prepared.”

Public Works Moves to Stop “Water” Leaks

He added, “And we as the county government have taken steps to save as well. Our Department of Public Works has an ongoing maintenance policy to repair water leaks or other water problems as they are reported. County vehicles are not being washed at our county garage, but are being brought instead to outside places that use recycled water. Our county buses are being washed less frequently and with less fresh water and more recycled water. And caution is being used on all county construction jobs to identify water lines to prevent any breakage.”

County Parks Finetunes Plantings

The county’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation will not be doing its usual spring plantings of annuals that use a lot of water.

“In place of these plants, we will place wood chips and a sign that explains that we are conserving water,” Spano said.

Why Westchester Water Depends on New York City Policy

Westchester gets about 85 percent of its water from the New York City reservoir system; therefore it follows the lead of New York City in regards to the water shortage. Westchester and New York City previously declared a “drought warning,” which calls for voluntary conservation and education measures.

The next stage – a “drought emergency” mandates certain water restrictions. These get more severe if the drought persists.

How White Plains Will Have to Sacrifice

Should the prolonged drought continue, and a draught emergency declared, White Plains residents can expect a range of enforced savings from limits on when or if lawns may be watered, cars washed and swimming pools filled and when water may be served at restaurants.

Businesses will have to cut back water use 15-25%.

In addition, if an emergency is declared large, non residential water wpcnr_users must develop and implement plans to reduce their use 15 percent to 25 percent, depending on the severity of the drought.

New County Water Policies

The county government is contacting schools, day care centers, nurseries, landscape associations, municipalities, businesses, landlords and building owners to acquaint them with what the law will require of them if a drought emergency is declared.

Specifically, all businesses and governments that use more than 1,000 gallons of water per day would have to develop a plan to decrease water usage by 15 percent. In the meantime, the county is asking these businesses to check for and repair leaky faucets and pipes and take voluntary measures to conserve.

Restaurants Called on for Voluntary Water Conservation

The county has asked restaurants to participate in a voluntary effort to conserve water by not serving water except upon request. The county has distributed posters and menu cards to restaurants for them to display to explain this policy. If a drought emergency is declared, restaurants would be barred from serving water except upon request.

County Acts to Increase Water Awareness

The county has posted on its website, www.westchestergov.com, water conservation information, and this site will be expanded in coming weeks.

• The county has “blast faxed” letters to all chief elected officials asking them to help promote water conservation, to check for water leaks, distribute water-saving tips posters, post information about water conservation on their own websites and on public access TV.

• The county has contacted the various water suppliers, offering to provide them with “Water Savings Tips” inserts for their water bills.

• The county has printed posters with water-saving tips that it is distributing throughout the county, including to municipal buildings, supermarkets and other large retail stores, businesses and schools.

• The county has prepared and distributed Public Service Announcements for airing on TV and radio urging conservation.

• The county will use its “outbound calling system,” to call Westchester homes with a recorded message urging conservation.

• Previously, the county appointed a Drought Emergency Task Force, whose job it is to oversee some of the public education efforts and establish administrative procedures to enable it to monitor compliance with the county’s water conservation program. The task force, along with the water agency, will work with the business community to formulate and implement water conservation plans.

Information in this report was provided by the Westchester County Department of Communications and edited by WPCNR.

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County Chamber of Commerce Endorses NYPH Biotech/Proton Accelerator Complex

High Noon News, From Marsha Gordon, 3/8/02, 11:00 AM:The Westchester County Chamber of Commerce voted Wednesday to support the New York Presbyterian Hospital’s proposal to create a biomedical research center at the Hospital White Plains Campus.
However, no specific site on the campus was singled out in the Chamber’s statement as preferred location.

Gordon speaks

Chamber of Commerce President, Marsha Gordon, strongly supported the biotechnology initiative in Westchester County, saying, “The development of Westchester County as a Biotech Corridor will enhance our scientific capabilities, create high quality jobs, and ultimately, spin off new industries which meet the needs of society’s future. Biotechnology creates the future of medicine.”

Board of Directors Votes Support of Proton Accelerator/Biotech direction, sees it as “hospital use.”

Dennis B. Kremer, County Chamber Chairman of the Board saw the biotech center/proton accelerator proposal as consistent with the New York Presbyterian Hospital “mission,” stating,

“We (the Board of Directors) agree that the New York-Presbyterian Hospital’s project embodies the types of medical research and clinical uses already there. We are pleased that the New York-Presbyterian Hospital views their research capabilities as a key piece to forging partnerships with other biotechnology efforts in Westchester County.”

Development Chief Weighs In

Warren Lesser, County Chamber Area Development Vice Chair remarked, “The mission of the Area Development Council is to further positive business development in our County. New York-Presbyterianb Hospital’s Proposal clearly meets this mission. We are pleased to offer our support.”

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Council Demands Heavyweight Fire Expert for Police/Fire Study

Milkman’s Matinee News, by John F. Bailey, Filed 3/7/02 2:00 AM EST: Councilmen Tom Roach and Robert Greer raised serious questions about the ability of the CGR fire consultant’s ability to evaluate the White Plains Fire Department Wednesday night, and requested the CGR Project Manager to find a fire consultant who had experience running a professional fire department instead of a volunteer department.
Charles Zettek, Jr., Director of Government Management for CGR, the Center for Government Research, based in Rochester, New York, said he would address this concern brought up by Roach and Greer, and would find a fire consultant with those qualification.

Zettek explained how CGR would conduct its study of the efficiency of the White Plains Public Safety Department to Councilpersons Rita Malmud, Roach and Greer at a Special Meeting of the Common Council meeting to consider hiring the firm to execute the long-awaited study.

A four-month Time Frame

The Council learned the study would take a minimum of three months before a first draft was presented, and a fourth month to complete the finish product based on Council questions.

Conducted in 4 Phases

Zettek said the study would begin with listing confidential interviews of police and fire personnel and other personalities CGR feels appropriate to the study, as well as any persons the Council felt should be included.

In the second phase they would schedule and conduct interviews. In the Third Phase they would identify trends borne out in the interviews they conduct, and consult with their own experts to verify and weigh what they are finding through the interview process, culminating in a rough draft, which the Council would see and comment upopn. with the fourth and final phase, the completion of the study.

Police Expert, a 32-year veteran of the Rochester Police Department

Zettek said the firm’s police consultant had spent 32 years with the Rochester Police, a department serving a city of roughly 220,000 people.

Mr. Roach actually raised the question of the kind of experience the CGR fire expert brought to the table. Zettek described his fire consultant as having been the professional manager of a volunteer fire department for the suburb of Rochester, the Gates-Chili Volunteer Fire Department.

This fact troubled Mr. Greer, who solemnly expressed concern that the White Plains Fire Department was a professional department and that the whole purpose of the survey was to put aside once and for all, without question, whether the splitting of the departments was or was not efficent.

Zettek said he would check back with his offices before turning in his final proposal, and find an expert with this kind of background: professional fire department management.

Zettek is due back Friday with his final proposal. The study will cost the city $84,000, and if a study of Emergency Medical Services is included, $96,000.

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School Tax Increase: Less Than $1 A Day. 02-03 Budget Hike Filleted to 7.1%

Milkman’s Matinee News, By John F. Bailey, Filed 3/7/02 2:00 AM EST: The Citizens Annual Budget Committee heard the School District’s latest version of the 02-03 budget Wednesday evening at Education House, and came away impressed at the steady drop in the school budget since its emergence in December.
Based on committee member reaction and comment on the 8.1% increase projected three weeks ago, the District has taken out an additional $1,146,508 in cuts, bringing the next year’s projected increase down to 7.1%, producing a budget of $127,125,740.

The 7.1% increase is the precise amount of increase voters approved by a 4 to 1 margin last year. Since first presented on December 5, the budget has shrunk from $132MM to the present $127.1MM, as revenue sources, needs, school aid, transportation contracts and retirements have been finalized.

More finetuning is expected before a Preliminary Proposed Budget is presented to the public, Monday, March 18th. The Final Budget is scheduled to be adopted on Monday, April 1st by the Board, followed by a Public Hearing on May 13th. The public vote on the budget will take place on Tuesday, May 21st.

Tax increase is 96 cents a day more than 01-02.

With Superintendent of Schools Saul Yanofsky, and Assistant Superintendent for Business, Richard Lasselle doing the honors, the ABC committee was told that the 7.1% budget increase could mean an 8.9% tax rate increase.

What this means for the White Plains homeowner with an average home assessment of $15,000: The homeowner would pay $351 more per year in school taxes with the 7.1% increase now planned. This $351 figure works out to 96 cents a day more over the course of a year, as the promotionally minded Marc Pollitzer put it, that’s only about a “dollar a day.”

This year the School Tax on a $15,000 assessment was $3,011 with STAR Exemption. In 2002-03, with a 7.1% increase, this rises to $3,362, the difference, year-to-year, $351.

Half of Latest Cut from Favorable Transportation Contract and Elimination of 9 New Positions.

Mr. Lasselle said that of the $1,146,508 in fresh cuts, $304,296 came from what he termed a better-than-expected new 5-year contract hammered out on school bus transportation reestablishing the District relationship with the White Plains Bus Company coming to approximately $5 to 6 Million, when it was projected at $6.5MM. The contract has only recently been negotiated, and he provided no further details.

Remedial teaching positions planned for the five elementary schools were eliminated because Dr. Yanofsky said the schools had not presented detailed enough plans on how the 2.5 new positions (at a cost of $175,000) would be utilized.

At the close of the meeting three members of the committee objected to this, suggesting that a least one teacher should be assigned to one school to see if an additional remedial teacher would make a difference. Yanofsky said this was a good idea and it would be looked at.

Three Computer Teaching Assistants were eliminated saving $135,000. Two full-time security assistants ($45,000)to occupy reception desks at Eastview and Highlands were eliminated because the security was being handled by staff now without a problem.

Other cuts were comprised of an additional savings from a retirement, recalculated fringe benefits and reduced equipment.

Referendum for $2.5MM to $3MM Considered for Capital Improvements

The proposal that was new this evening was Richard Lasselle’s presentation of a proposal to fund a series of urgent capital improvements to the schools by floating a $2.5MM to $3MM referendum before the voters in November. The majority sentiment of the ABC appeared to favor presenting the referendum to the voters.

Lasselle said the referendum would be used to replace the boilers at Eastview School, one of which dates back to 1927, another to the 1950s. He said it was getting very hard to find replacement parts for the old boilers. Heating modifications were also planned for Ridgeway School, Post Road School and Highlands Middle School. Ridgeway will also be scheduled to receive replacement of part of a roof section.

At Church Street School, a portion of the referendum monies would create a new bus loop and parking renovations.

Up at Highlands lockers dating from the year the school was built (1929) would be replaced.

At White Plains High School the referendum would fund replacement windows in the Pool Building, painting of interior corridors, locker renovation, and to install a Video Surveillance System. The Varsity Baseball field would undergo a raising of the field to improve its drainage at a cost of over $100,000.

Lasselle said he envisioned the referendum not affecting debt service until 2004, when at monies borrowed at a projected 4.2% interest rate, the first payment would be $125,000 with payments averaging $400,000 from 2005 to 2013.

Consequences of an Austerity Budget

Lasselle painted the grim picture of what an Austerity Budget, (which activates if the public defeats the school budget twice), would mean. According to Lasselle, if an Austerity Budget had to be adopted, the budget would have to be cut an additional $5,576,476, to $121,549,264. Lasselle said the bulk of such a cut would mean elimination of teaching positions.

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White Plains Parents to Unite with Scarsdale Parents to Protest the Tests

Drivetime Edition, Filed By Mary Cavallero, 3/6/02, 3:45 PM EST:This year, our Eighth Graders will be taking 5 seperate state-mandated tests. If you feel the burden created by this many tests is excessive please try to attend a rally organized by the Scarsdale Middle School PTA to speak out against state-mandated testing. The rally is scheduled for this Thursday, March 7th, from 8:30-9:30 a.m. at the Scarsdale Middle School.
Parking at the School is limited, so interested White Plains parents will meet at the Recreation Department parking lot on Gedney Way (next to Gillie Park) at 8:00 a.m. and will car pool from there. Speakers at the rally will include NYS Assembly Representatives, the Scarsdale School Superintendent and Parents.

Scarsdale Middle School is on Mamaroneck Rd. (not Old Mamaroneck Rd.) From White Plains – Take Hartsdale Av. which becomes Garden and make a left when Garden ends onto Mamaroneck Rd.

Bring signs

If you go, you might want to bring a sign – “White Plains Parent says No to 5 STATE TESTS.” 0r, “White Plains Parent says No to state mandated tests.” The idea is to let the media know that it’s just not Scarsdale that’s opposed to the tests.

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Café of Broken Dreams: After 19 years, Corner Nook Innocent Victims

“Sergeant Joe Friday Reports” By John F. Bailey, Filed 3/6/02, 3:00 PM EST: What are you doing for lunch tomorrow? A lot of City Hall movers and shakers go across Main Street to The Corner Nook for the souvlaki, the club sandwiches, the eggs any time of day and the hominess of the “hometown diner” out of the past.
But you may not be able to do it much longer.
After 19 years, the friendly little place that takes care of you with Linda, Peter, Joanne, and Anthony at your service may be closing, a casualty of “downtown revitalization.”


THE LAST OF THE REAL DINERS WITH REAL GREASE AND REAL JAVA: The Corner Nook, 238 Main Street, where Jim Benerofe, “The Dean of White Plains Journalism,” eats lunch, as do many kingpins of City Hall, could close any month now. The diner along with two neighbor properties, is being dangled by its owner to developers who want to continue “revitalization” along Main Street. Pending outcome of a court suit between the delicatessen owner in the block and the owner of the building, The Nook may soon close, their owners left with nothing. The property is being coveted by A. J. Rotonde, the developer, for transformation into condominium apartments.
Photo by WPCNR

A different kind of lease.

A funny thing happened last year when Linda Dimitrakakis, owner of The Corner Nook (she takes those nostalgic little green checks with your money at the cash register) and her husband, Peter, signed their new lease. The owner, Joshua Makanoff, of CMC Company, did not include a renewal clause in the lease.

When she asked him about it, she said, he said not to worry about it, “to trust him,” she said. She said she regrets having not been more suspicious.



LINDA DIMITRAKAKIS, OWNER OF THE CORNER NOOK was denied a lease, and has no protection.

Photo by WPCNR

Now it is one year later, and Mr. Mackinaw is attempting to sell his building which has been home to The Nook for 19 years. However, because Ms. Dimitrakakis does not have a lease for 2002, her previous one expiring, she is not entitled to any relief, in the form of payments to her business should Makanoff sell the building.

She would, she claims, have at least a stake in the form of a lease buyout to relocate her property elsewhere in the city if she had been allowed to sign a lease for 2002.

Makanoff, according to Dimitrakakis, is attempting to sell his property to A. J. Rotonde who hopes to build high rise apartments on the corner as a compliment to the City Center project.

That sale is being held up because Makanoff is being sued by another tenant, who owns the delicatessen next door to The Nook. The deli owner claims he has the right of first refusal if Makanoff is about to sell.

Makanoff has stated publicly in the press, that he does not believe the delicatessen owner can give him the kind of money that would match any offer Rotonde, a partner with a major national developer, would make. The dispute between the deli and Makanoff is being litigated.

Nook Could be closed within 30 days of any purchase.

“If I had a lease,” Linda Dimitrakakis told WPCNR Tuesday, (as I paid her for a chicken salad club on toasted rye), “I’d be protected, and have a little money, some equity to open elsewhere in the city. I don’t have $200,000 to open a new restaurant. We have kept up the property, improved it, invested $175,000 in equipment over 19 years. Most of the equipment is not movable. And it is not salvageable.”



THE LOOK, THE FEEL, THE HOSPITALITY THAT ONLY A REAL DINER GIVES: What a diner gives you that a formal restaurant doesn’t is informality and friendliness. Nowhere is that more on the menu than at The Corner Nook. From the Yankee memorabilia on the walls, to the friendly sayings and the conversation, Joanne, Anthony, Linda and Peter Dimitrakakis make you feel at home. (That’s Peter at the rear, Anthony in foreground. )The old-time touches are there: from the desserts on display underglass, the globe coffee pots and the gleaming stainless steel. This is where real food lives! At 2 PM Wednesday, when we had lunch the place was milling with lunchtime regulars.
Photo by WPCNR

We asked if the owner Makanoff was aware of her plight. Was he negotiating a payment for her should he sell the building? Dimitrakakis said, he has told her “my hands are tied,” that there was nothing he could do at the present time.

Makanoff is in a legal suit of his own. To be fair, he may be more forthcoming when the delicatessen suit is settled and he can move on with his sale.

Nook legal options can not begin until she is evicted.

Presently Dimitrakakis says, she has been advised by an attorney that she cannot start any action of a legal means until she is actually evicted by a building owner.

To date, all the owner has done is not grant her a new lease, which is not against the law. She continues to pay him $4,000 on a monthly basis, $48,000 a year rent for the space, without any protection. He could ask her to leave on 30 days’ notice.

She is interested in finding other space for her restaurant in the city but a money problem does exist in moving the restaurant.


NINETEEN YEARS ON MAIN STREET: Joanne Flynn gets coffee for a customer. The cheery, cozy interior of the diner is a warm respite from the stark, competitive, Byzantine intrigues of City Hall for many commissioners and followers of City Hall action. Construction workers from the City Center across the street drop in regularly and the banter is always lively. It’s a place that feels like home away from home, where they are always glad to see you.
Photo by WPCNR

The Corner Nook would appear to need a bridge loan. Perhaps the owner and his eventual buyer will see their need.

Without a lease from Mr. Makanoff, the Nook investment was not protected. Owners of businesses on Martine Avenue faced a similar problem.

When Cappelli Enterprises was attempting to acquire properties along Martine Avenue, he personally arranged payments and offered assistance in relocating the businesses there.

Perhaps Mr. Rotonde and his development partners, if they acquire the building, or whoever does, will adapt a similar good neighbor attitude that will come to the rescue of The Corner Nook.



“SIT LONG, EAT WELL, LAUGH OFTEN,” the motto of
The Corner Nook.

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